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New Escapist Column! On How Netflix Failed the Punisher…

I published a new In the Frame piece at The Escapist yesterday. With WandaVision launching this weekend, it seemed like a good time to take a look back at Marvel’s first foray into streaming, their Netflix series.

The Punisher was the last entry into the shared Netflix Marvel Universe, starring Jon Bernthal as Frank Castle. However, what’s interesting about The Punisher on Netflix is the extent to which the series is reluctant to let Frank Castle… be Frank Castle, to wallow in what makes the Punisher such a challenging and unsettled character. In contrast, the series reframes Frank as a much mroe generic streaming hero, stripping out anything that makes the character particularly compelling or engaging.

You can read the piece here, or click the picture below.

Non-Review Review: Fury

Fury is an apocalyptic glimpse of warfare.

Unfolding in the last days of the Second World War, as Allied forces pour into Germany from all sides, there’s a sense that this is the end. This is the abyss. As the introductory text explained, Hitler had declared a doctrine of “total war” against these invading forces. Every man woman and child was to be mobilised against the advancing armies, in the hope that it might somehow slow down the Allied war machine. If you throw enough people at it, you might do some damage – even if it is just clogging the gears.

He will strike down with Fury-ous anger...

He will strike down with Fury-ous anger…

A movie about a tank crew enduring these last few days, Fury gets considerable mileage out of that image – of human flesh falling before the unstoppable and inevitable machine. At a couple of points in the movie, characters die with their faces quite literally down in the mud. At other points, bodies are crushed beneath the tracks of the eponymous vehicle. Towards the climax, we encounter a body so thoroughly squashed beneath the weight of the Allied advanced that it seems like an empty uniform.

Fury is at its best when it captures the sheer unrelenting terror and horror of the advancing war machine – the nihilism of fighting a war that has already been decided, and the bleak inevitability of large-scale slaughter.

Fog of war...

Fog of war…

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